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Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf: a Favorite Slow Cooker Meatloaf Recipe

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf is tender, juicy, savory and delicious. This slow cooker meatloaf with sweet potatoes is an easy one-pot meal that takes only minutes to prep. It’s company-worthy comfort food of the very best kind.

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) served on a white platter with sweet potato chunks.
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Have you ever tried a crockpot meatloaf recipe? This was a first for me, and now I’m hooked. It’s a simple ground beef dinner everyone loves, and it’s budget-friendly.

Slow Cooker Meatloaf doesn’t dry out the way meatloaf can in the oven. And I can cook a side dish right along with it without any extra pots or fuss.

I’ve read so much about Stove Top stuffing in meatloaf lately. It looks like I’m late to the party, but I was so intrigued by the idea that I decided to give it a try.

This recipe is a sort of hodge podge of the best things from the recipes I’ve read with a couple additions of my own. Friends, this meatloaf is a revelation!

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) served on a white platter with sweet potato chunks.

Don’t get me wrong. My fast, easy, 5-ingredient Lipton Onion Soup Meatloaf is still a huge weeknight favorite. It comes together so quickly, and it’s mouthwateringly delicious.

But this scrumptious meatloaf roasted in a slow cooker is a sensational new hit at our house. The slow cooker keeps the meat juicy, and low and slow cooking gives the meatloaf time to absorb and maximize the flavors of the herbs and seasonings stirred into the mixture.

I can’t wait for you to try this easy recipe for slow cooker meatloaf! It only needs minutes of hands-on prep. Your slow cooker does the heavy lifting, and dinner is ready when you are.

The Ingredients

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) ingredients on a marble countertop. Ground beef, tarragon, tomato paste, eggs, all purpose seasoning, stuffing mix, milk and sweet potatoes.

For Meatloaf:

  • Ground Beef (85/15)
  • Stuffing Mix
  • Red Onion – Substitute different colors of onions if that’s what you have on hand. I used a large one that minced up to around 1 1/2 to 2 cups of onion.
  • Whole Milk – for richness, moisture and browning
  • Eggs – You’ll need them as a binder in your meatloaf. You will need a suitable binding egg replacement if you want to go eggless. I have never tried that, so you’ll just have to use your own experience as two which one best replaces two whole eggs.
  • Tomato Paste – Being able to buy this in a tube has been life-altering for me and really cuts down on waste.
  • All Purpose Seasoning – Use your favorite. I always use my Easy Homemade All Purpose Seasoning. Keep in mind it is lower salt than commercial brands, so adjust how much you use if you’re using a store-bought seasoning.
  • Tarragon – If you wanted to leave this out or substitute with one of your favorite herbs it can work. I just love Tarragon and the subtle underlying flavor notes it brings to meat dishes. It’s sort of bitter and sweet and you’ll taste notes of anise, pepper, and even mint. It’s very complex, and I find it delicious!
  • Sweet Potatoes – You don’t NEED to add a side to the slow cooker, but I love being able to get everything done in one pot. I cut them into around two-inch chunks. Peeled or unpeeled. Both work.

For Glaze (optional):

  • ketchup
  • honey
  • stone ground mustard

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Tips for Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf Success

This recipe is incredibly easy and comes together in minutes. But, here as some tips that will help you make the recipe your own and a huge success.

Choose the Right Ground Beef

Ground Beef in commercial packaging.

It’s common in lots of recipes to see lean ground beef suggested. Lean ground beef has 10% or less fat.

That’s fine when making meatballs or hamburgers that will cook quickly. They’ll be able to retain their moisture and still be tender if you use lean ground beef in preparing them.

But, meatloaf is going to be in the oven, or in this case the slow cooker, for hours. To have a truly delectable slow cooker meatloaf that is tender and not dried out, you’re going to want ground beef with a slightly higher fat content.

You don’t need to go overboard, but in my personal opinion, 85/15 ground beef makes a superb Stove Top stuffing meatloaf. You could even go 80/20 and be supremely happy.

And the truth is, most of that fat will be in the bottom of your pan or slow cooker when the baking is done, not in your meatloaf.

But during the cooking process, having that fat running through the meat adds flavor that nothing else you add can provide and makes your meatloaf next-level delicious.

Don’t Overmix the Meatloaf Mixture

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) mixture in a clear bowl.

Have you ever eaten a meatloaf that was super dense and rubbery? That comes from overmixing and compressing it as you’re mixing it up.

While it’s really important to have all the ingredients evenly distributed throughout the meatloaf to get the best flavor, it’s equally important for it not to be tough and dry.

  1. Whisk the eggs, milk, tomato paste and seasonings together before adding them to the other ingredients.
  2. Don’t start mixing the meatloaf until ALL the ingredients are in the bowl. The less you have to handle the ground beef, the better.
  3. Use your hands to mix the slow cooker meatloaf instead of a spoon or fork. You’ll be able to feel when everything is well distributed and know that your mixture is not becoming too tight. (Mixing actually links the molecules of myocin in ground meat. If we mix too much, the myocin becomes so tightly linked that the ground meat gets tough.)
  4. Shape the loaf gently without compressing it too tightly. You want it to hold its shape without being dense.

JUMP TO RECIPE CARD→

Don’t Skip the Foil or the Resting Period

Rest Your Meatloaf Before Slicing

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) served on a white platter with sweet potato chunks.

Ground meat needs to be cooked to the USDA-recommended internal temperature of 160°F to be safe.

And stove top stuffing meatloaf, or any meatloaf, should be removed from the heat at 155°F and rested before slicing.

That rest period will allow it to come to a safe temperature before eating, as the meatloaf will continue to cook from residual heat for several minutes after taking it out.

That rest period will also make it possible to get beautiful, even slices of meatloaf instead of a crumbling mess. If you try to slice meatloaf immediately after baking, you will dry it out and likely crumble it to pieces.

Why Your Meatloaf Needs a Foil “Hammock”

It’s taken me 50 years of making meatloaf to realize that making a “hammock” of foil in the slow cooker or loaf pan is a simple way to move a fully cooked meatloaf to the cutting board for resting without breaking it to pieces.

Lining slow cooker with aluminum foil.

Whether baking your meatloaf in a slow cooker, in a loaf pan or free-form on a baking sheet, the aluminum foil “sling” will make it easy to lift the whole meatloaf without it falling apart.

So don’t skip the foil. It’s a step that will make your really good meatloaf into an extraordinary one.

Run the foil crosswise across the pan and leave plenty hanging over the edges so you can get a good grip on it when lifting the baked meatloaf. I usually use two overlapping sheets of heavy-duty foil in the crock pot or on a baking tray. One is enough in a loaf pan.

The foil should cover any part of the bottom of the pan where your meatloaf will be touching it. There’s no need for foil to cover the ends of the slow cooker insert or loaf pan, but it should run up both sides with a generous overhang.

JUMP TO RECIPE CARD→

The Milk is Actually Important

Whole milk in a clear liquid measuring cup with a red handle.

For mouthwatering and memorable meatloaf, the milk is actually a big deal.

Milk in meatloaf adds richness and another layer of flavor. With any ground meat, milk is believed to help tenderize the finished dish (like in my scrumptious Italian Meatballs).

The additional proteins in milk help to encourage that browning reaction (Maillard reaction) that makes meat so delicious, too.

And lastly, but just as important, the milk will bind with the bread cubes (stuffing mix) to hold moisture in and to bind your meatloaf with stuffing mix together.

Leave Space Around Your Meatloaf

Try to leave an inch or more of empty space all the way around your meatloaf.

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) mixture formed into a loaf and placed in a foil lined crock-pot.

That ever-so-important fat content that we talked about earlier can also trip you up if you aren’t prepared to handle it correctly.

The fat in your meat will render as the meatloaf is cooking and drizzle downward through your meatloaf from top to bottom.

The stuffing mix bread cubes will absorb just the right amount to give your slow cooker meatloaf outrageously good flavor and moisture. The excess will continue to drizzle down through the meatloaf and out into the pan or slow cooker.

The fat the meatloaf holds for flavor and moisture is good. But that excess fat swilling around the bottom of your meatloaf can lead to disaster. You want to be able to spread it out from the meatloaf as much as possible.

The goal is for the excess fat to be as shallow in the pan as you can possibly make it. You don’t want the finished meatloaf to be soggy or full of grease. It spoils the taste, the texture and the ability to slice it without crumbling. If the excess has nowhere to go, it’s going to try to reabsorb into your meatloaf.

That extra space without grease up against the sides of your meatloaf also means you get that delicious crusty outside covering more of the surface of your slow cooker meatloaf.

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) served on a white platter with sweet potato chunks.

So, definitely give the rendered fat room to spread out away from the loaf. It’s why I now like baking free-form meatloaf on a baking sheet rather than packing it into a loaf pan if I’m going to cook it in the oven.

See. Even old grandmas with lots of cooking and baking experience can learn new tricks. lol You’ve got this. You’re gonna make the best meatloaf of your life now!

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FAQs

What flavor of Stove Top Stuffing should I use?

I used Savory Herb. Since I was using ground beef, I opted for a stuffing mix that I thought would enhance and bring out the beefiness. That being said, all the stuffing mixes have herbs and dehydrated veggie powders for seasoning. I have even heard some people mention that they enjoy the cornbread stuffing mix in this recipe.You won’t go wrong if you use the one your family loves most.

Is this make ahead meatloaf?

Yes. You can prepare this meatloaf mixture up to 24 hours ahead of time and store it in the fridge. Or you can prepare the mixture and freeze it up to 4 months. Just be sure the mixture is completely thawed before baking it. Then allow it to set out for 30 minutes to an hour to come to room temperature before starting the slow cooker or putting it into the oven.Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) served on a white platter with sweet potato chunks.

Can I bake this Stove Top stuffing meatloaf in the oven instead of a slow cooker?

Absolutely! Free-form your meatloaf into a loaf shape and place it on a foil-lined baking sheet. Scatter the sweet potato chunks around the outer edges of the meatloaf. Bake in a 350° preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 155°. Add the topping during the last two to three minutes of cooking and turn the oven to broil to caramelize it on the meatloaf. Remove from the oven and place the meatloaf on a cutting board to rest for ten minutes. Slice and serve.

How to Make Meatloaf with Stove Top Stuffing

Sweet potatoes over a meatloaf in a foil-lined crock pot.
  1. Line the slow cooker insert with heavy-duty foil. Cover the entire bottom and sides leaving enough overhang to firmly grasp each side and lift out the meatloaf when it is done.
  2. Whisk together the milk, eggs, tomato paste and seasonings and set aside.
  3. Scrub or peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into two-inch chunks if you decide you want to use them.
  4. Add the ground beef, stuffing mix and minced onion to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Pour the milk mixture into the mixing bowl.
  6. Use your hands to mix the slow cooker meatloaf instead of a spoon or fork. You’ll be able to feel when everything is well distributed and know that your mixture is not becoming too tight. It is SO IMPORTANT not to overmix so the meatloaf doesn’t become dense, rubbery and dry.
  7. Gently shape the meat mixture into a loaf without compressing it too tightly. You want it to hold its shape without being dense.
A covered slow cooker with sweet potatoes and meatloaf cooking inside.
  1. Place the shaped loaf into the foil-lined crockpot.
  2. Add sweet potato chunks around the outside and over the top of the meatloaf. Lightly salt and pepper them, if desired.
  3. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set on LOW. Cook for 4 to 5 hours on LOW until the internal temperature is 155°F.
  4. If glazing your meatloaf, turn on the broiler and then use the foil to remove the meatloaf from the slow cooker to a baking sheet. I allow the drippings to run off the foil and then make the transfer. I also leave the foil under the meatloaf. Brush the top and sides of the slow cooker meatloaf with your prepared glaze. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for two to 3 minutes until the glaze is bubbly and beginning to caramelize. It will only take a couple minutes so watch it closely. Use the foil sling to lift the meatloaf off the baking sheet and then allow the it to rest on a cutting board for ten to fifteen minutes
  5. If not adding a glaze to your meatloaf, use the foil sling to lift it out of the crockpot and then allow the stuffing meatloaf to rest on a cutting board for ten to fifteen minutes.
  6. Slice and serve.
Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) served on a white platter with sweet potato chunks.

Possible Recipe Variations

You can definitely get creative and make this recipe your own.

  • Use a different ground meat or mix two or more to get two pounds of meat with appropriate fat content. Try ground pork, chicken, turkey, or lamb in place of the ground beef. Combine two or more to get better moisture content and flavor.
  • Switch out the stuffing mix flavor for your own favorite.
  • Add different herbs or seasonings if you don’t have tarragon or all-purpose seasoning.
    • My homemade beef bouillon powder would be excellent (probably about one Tablespoon) if no other seasoning with salt is being used.
    • Herbs that pair well with beef: thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, bay leaves.
  • Instead of tomato paste, use barbecue sauce or ketchup.
  • Use salt and black pepper if you won’t be using any seasoning blends that contain salt.

JUMP TO RECIPE →

Leftovers: Storing & Using Them

Store your stuffing mix meatloaf leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to four days.

Slow cooker meatloaf leftovers can also be stored in the freezer, either whole or sliced. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) served on a white platter with sweet potato chunks.

Need ideas for making leftover meatloaf into family-friendly and delicious new meals? If you would normally use ground beef in a recipe, it’s a good bet that leftover meatloaf will be delicious. Plus it will be pre-cooked and seasoned! Here’s a list of ideas to give you inspiration.

  • How about a hot meatloaf sandwich on the order of my Hot Beef Sandwich? Toasty bread topped with sliced meatloaf, mashed potatoes and beefy gravy. Yum!
  • Use Greek-style pita bread to make personal meatloaf pizzas in your oven or air fryer. Crumble on meatloaf chunks instead of your usual meat toppings.
  • Crumble leftover meatloaf into marinara sauce and serve for a scrumptious spaghetti supper.
  • Meatloaf Pot Pie
  • Easy Chili with Meatloaf Leftovers
  • Meatloaf Tacos or Taco Bowls
  • Tater Tot Casserole
  • Cottage/ Shepherd’s Pie
  • Meatloaf Sliders
  • Philly Meatloaf Sandwich – like a Philly Cheesesteak but with leftover meatloaf
  • Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers
  • Meatloaf Sloppy Joes
Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) served on a white platter with sweet potato chunks.

The Recipe

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Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf) served on a white platter with sweet potato chunks.

Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf (Slow Cooker Meatloaf)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x

Description

Slow Cooker Meatloaf is an easy delicious Stove Top stuffing meatloaf cooked with sweet potatoes. A simple, comforting one-pot dinner recipe that you can put together in minutes.  Let the slow cooker do the heavy lifting.  A favorite at family reunions, potlucks and for weeknight dinner.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 lbs. ground beef (85/15)
  • 1 (6 oz. ) box stuffing mix (Savory Herb is what I used.)
  • 1 lg. red onion, minced (about 1 1/2 cups minced onion)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons All Purpose Seasoning (I used my homemade, but use your favorite.)
  • optional: 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 lbs. raw sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks

For Glaze (optional):

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons stone ground mustard

Instructions

  1. Line the slow cooker insert with heavy-duty foil. Cover the entire bottom and sides leaving enough overhang to firmly grasp each side and lift out the meatloaf when it is done.
  2. Whisk together the milk, eggs, tomato paste and seasonings and set aside.
  3. Scrub or peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into two-inch chunks if you decide you want to use them.
  4. Add the ground beef, stuffing mix and minced onion to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Pour the milk mixture into the mixing bowl.
  6. Use your hands to mix the slow cooker meatloaf instead of a spoon or fork. You’ll be able to feel when everything is well distributed and know that your mixture is not becoming too tight. It is SO IMPORTANT not to overmix so the meatloaf doesn’t become dense, rubbery and dry.
  7. Gently shape the meat mixture into a loaf without compressing it too tightly. You want it to hold its shape without being dense.
  8. Place the shaped loaf into the foil-lined crockpot.
  9. Add sweet potato chunks around the outside and over the top of the meatloaf. Lightly salt and pepper them, if desired.
  10. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set on LOW. Cook for 4 to 5 hours on LOW until the internal temperature is 155°F.
  11. Whisk together the glaze ingredients and set aside if you are making a glaze.
  12. If glazing your meatloaf, turn on the broiler and then use the foil to remove the meatloaf from the slow cooker to a baking sheet. I allow the drippings to run off the foil and then make the transfer. I also leave the foil under the meatloaf. Brush the top and sides of the slow cooker meatloaf with your prepared glaze. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for two to 3 minutes until the glaze is bubbly and beginning to caramelize. It will only take a couple minutes so watch it closely. Use the foil sling to lift the meatloaf off the baking sheet and then allow the it to rest on a cutting board for ten to fifteen minutes
  13. If not adding a glaze to your meatloaf, use the foil sling to lift it out of the crockpot and then allow the stuffing meatloaf to rest on a cutting board for ten to fifteen minutes.
  14. Slice and serve.

Notes

See the original recipe post for extra tips and tricks as well as answers to frequently asked questions.  https://glendaembree.com/stove-top-stuffing-meatloaf-slow-cooker-meatloaf.

Possible Recipe Variations

  • Use a different ground meat or mix two or more to get two pounds of meat with appropriate fat content. Try ground pork, chicken, turkey, or lamb in place of the ground beef. Combine two or more to get better moisture content and flavor.
  • Switch out the stuffing mix flavor for your own favorite.
  • Add different herbs or seasonings if you don’t have tarragon or all-purpose seasoning.
    • My homemade beef bouillon powder would be excellent (probably about one Tablespoon) if no other seasoning with salt is being used.
    • Herbs that pair well with beef: thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, bay leaves.
  • Instead of tomato paste, use barbecue sauce or ketchup.
  • Use salt and black pepper if you won’t be using any seasoning blends that contain salt.

NUTRITION INFORMATION INCLUDES MEATLOAF, SWEET POTATOES and MEATLOAF GLAZE

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Category: Main Dish, Beef
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American
glenda embree

About Glenda

I believe cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated and that YOU can do it. My simple recipes, tutorials, and cooking tips will help you get weeknight dinners on the table with less stress. Forget takeout or the drive-thru. Let me show you how to make homemade easy. Read more...

18 thoughts on “Stove Top Stuffing Meatloaf: a Favorite Slow Cooker Meatloaf Recipe”

  1. So juicy and flavorful! Made this for dinner and can I just say it was absolutely delicious! This instantly became a new fam favorite there were even barely any leftovers.Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
  2. The meatloaf was so tender and the addition of sweet potatoes made it even better. Used your homemade beef bouillon powder instead of all-purpose seasoning and tarragon and it created such a satisfying savory flavor. So yum!

    Reply
  3. I followed the recipe exactly as written, and it turned out really good! The meatloaf was tender and comforting, and it paired perfectly with sweet potatoes. The flavors worked together really well!

    Reply
  4. I’m glad I found this. Making meat loaf is so easy now. The stuffing mix adds a very good flavor. Family gatherings or busy weeknights, it’s a winner every time!

    Reply
  5. My family couldn’t get over how good this meatloaf turned out I love that is slow cooked all day. It was a perfect meal to come home to.

    Reply
  6. This was really a hit. My parents came to visit and knowing my mom loves meatloaf, I decided to try it. Oh my… they loved it. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  7. What a great recipe! So delicious and I especially loved that I could cook potatoes right with the meatloaf. A new favorite in our house!

    Reply
  8. I just made this and it was delicious and so flavorful. Never done meatloaf in a crockpot before but I might just be making it this way from now on. Also, the sweet potato was a good idea. Loved it. Thanks x

    Reply

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